Rules calibration proposed for egg products

by Matt Noltemeyer
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Egg production
The U.S.D.A.'s proposed rule seeks to modernize egg products plants’ inspection systems.

WASHINGTON — Processors would be required to produce preventative food safety plan documents and meet other sanitation requirements under a plan to align egg products inspections rules with those governing meat and poultry.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the proposed rule seeks to modernize egg products plants’ inspection systems and require processors to use methods that produce finished products free of detectable pathogens. Businesses would be instructed to craft Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points systems and Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures and meet other sanitation requirements contained in meat and poultry regulations. The plan calls for elimination of existing egg product provisions that don’t align with meat and poultry rules.

The proposal was announced Jan. 9 by U.S.D.A.’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, which calls the amended rules a critical step forward in making egg products safer for Americans to eat.

Carmen Rottenberg, U.S.D.A.
Carmen Rottenberg, acting deputy undersecretary for food safety

“As we continue to modernize inspection systems and processes, we are committed to strengthening consistency across the services that F.S.I.S. inspection personnel carry out for the consuming public,” said Carmen Rottenberg, acting deputy undersecretary for food safety.

F.S.I.S. anticipates more efficient use of agency resources and elimination of regulatory obstacles to food safety innovation.

The service said H.A.C.C.P. plans give processors the leeway to tailor food safety systems to their facility and equipment, and noted that 93% of egg products plants currently maintain written H.A.C.C.P. plans that address at least one production step in their process.

“This proposed rule will ensure the same level of inspection and oversight of all regulated products as we carry out our public health mission,” Ms. Rottenberg said.

A 120-day comment period will open upon publication of the intended rule in the Federal Register.  
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